Dharmapuri: DECEMBER 31, 2012 – JANUARY 1, 2013

The Glory of Lord Narasimha & Adi Shankara’s Hymns on Lord Narasimha

Jagadguru Shankaracharya Sri Sri Bharati Tirtha Mahaswamiji arrived at Dharmapuri on 31st December 2012. Sri Sacchidananda Saraswati Swamiji led the devotees in welcoming the Jagadguru. After Dhuli Pada Puja was performed by the Swamiji, the Jagadguru gave a Anugraha Bhashanam.

The Jagadguru said that in our country, there are a number of holy places through which God has chosen to let us experience His divine presence in some form and thereby protect devotees. Dharmapuri is one such place where God, in the form of Lakshminarasimha Swamy is gracing His devotees and protecting them. In all of the incarnations that God has taken in order to protect Dharma and erase Adharma, the incarnation of Narasimha is unique. The purpose of this incarnation was to show the omnipresence of the Almighty. Prahlada stated this tenet to his father, Hiranyakashipu thus:

ఇందుగలడందులేడని సందేహము వలదు చక్రి సర్వోపగతుండు ఎందెందు వెదకి చూచిన అందందే గలడు దానవాగ్రణి వింటే

“Indugaladandu ledani sandehamu valadu chakri sarvopagathundu endendu vethagichoochina andandeygaladu daanavaagranivintey.” (Telugu Bhagavatham)

But Hiranyakashipu could not comprehend the omnipresence of God due to his ego. Therefore he asked his son, “You claim your Shreemannarayana is present everywhere. Is He present in this pillar?” Prahlada answered, “He is here also.” Then when Hiranyakashipu asked, “Then show Him to me” Prahlada answered, “What is there in my showing God? He Himself gives us a vision of Him.” So when Hiranyakashipu attacked the pillar, the Lord manifested Himself in the form of Narasimha. Srimad Bhagavatam gives two reasons for the manifestation of Narasimha – to establish the omnipresence of the Lord and to demonstrate God’s will to make the words of His devotee come true. God is so compassionate towards His devotees, that He assumed responsibility to establish the truth of Prahlada’s words. Srimad Bhagavatam says that these are the reasons behind the incarnation of Narasimha. Therefore, meditating upon this incarnation is a means of securing our all-round welfare and protecting ourselves from all crises.

The Lord has granted us Saannidhya in the form of Narasimha, in various places. Dharmapuri is one among them. Lord Lakshminarasimha has showered His blessings on Sri Adi Shankara in various ways. When Sri Shankara was in the process of reentering His own body (after having enlivened the body of the King Amaruka), the king’s ministers ordered that all dead bodies in the kingdom be cremated immediately (to prevent Sri Shankara from reentering his body). Upon sighting Sri Shankara’s lifeless body in a cave, the soldiers of the kingdom set fire to it. At that very instant, Sri Adi Shankaracharya reentered His body. The body had already caught fire. Immediately, Sri Shankaracharya prayed to Lord Lakshminarasimha. Instantly, the gracious Lord relieved the body of its contact with fire and restored Sri Shankara’s body to its original form! Thus, did Lord Lakshminarasimha bless Sri Shankaracharya. This is one incident.

In another incident, a person by name Ugrabhairava, raised his sword to behead Sri Shankaracharya (who was in deep meditation). At that very moment, Lord Narasimha entered into Padmapaada (Sri Shankaracharya’s disciple) and killed Ugrabhairava by tearing him apart with His sharp nails, just as He had done to Hiranyakashipu! Thus, in Sri Shankara’s life, he had the grace of Narasimha in a very special way. This is the reason why, in Shankara’s AshtottaraShataNaamaavalih, he is hailed as: नृसिंहभक्ताय नमः

Sri Shankaracharya had a special devotion towards Narasimha and has composed the LakshmiNarasimha Karaavalamba Stotram and the LakshmiNarasimha Pancharathnam. In the LakshmiNarasimha Pancharathnam, Shankara, while eulogising Narasimha, also imparted certain teachings. He states at the very outset:

त्वत्प्रभुजीवप्रियमिच्छसि चेन्नरहरिपूजां कुरु सततं
प्रतिबिम्बालङ्कृतिधृतिकुशलो बिंबालङ्कृतिमातनुते ।

Sri Shankaracharya has given a splendid metaphor here. He addresses it to the mind. He says: “O mind! If your master (the Jiva) has to be happy, meditate on the Supreme Being (Paramaatma).” Why so? Because the Jiva is a reflection of the Paramaatma. If the reflection has to be look nice, the original image must look good first. Supposing we see ourselves in the mirror. If we have spots on our face, even the reflection will have them. If we wish to not have any spots in the reflection, we have to cleanse our face. God and man are like the original image and reflection. Man, being the reflection, has to meditate upon God, the original image. Sri Shankaracharya has given us this wonderful teaching through the line प्रतिबिम्बालङ्कृतिधृतिकुशलो बिंबालङ्कृतिमातनुते, while praising Lord Narasimha.

Sri Shankaracharya has also given another teaching in the same hymn:

स्रक्चन्दनवनितादीन्विषयान्सुखदान्मत्वा तत्र विहरसे
गन्धफलीसदृशा ननु तेऽमी भोगानन्तरदुःखकृतः स्युः ।

Man engages his mind on mundane objects. On seeing something good, one covets it. If one sees a garland, one is tempted to wear it. On seeing some perfume, one feels like smearing it upon oneself. Similarly, one is tempted to eat tasty food when one sees it. But all these objects which you desire to wear, smear and eat, will only result in disappointment, not happiness. A person may adorn himself with a garland. But after some time, his neck will start to ache and he is forced to keep it aside! Similar is the case with perfumes. After smearing plenty of them, he will begin to feel uncomfortable! Same is the case with food. If he eats beyond a certain amount, he will have to run to the doctor! What is the use? भोगानन्तरदुःखकृतः स्युः – those which shall result in suffering after enjoyment. So do not get attached with them. भज भज लक्ष्मीनरसिंहानघपदसरसिजमकरन्दम् – Therefore, Shankara asks the mind to dwell on the lotus-feet of Lord Lakshminarasimha.

Under the pretext of praising Lord Narasimha, Bhagavatpaada Shankara has taught us so many good lessons. Similarly, in the Lakshminarasimha Karaavalambana Stotram,

अन्धस्य मे हृतविवेकमहाधनस्य
चोरैर्महाबलिभिरिन्द्रियनामधेयैः ।
मोहान्धकारकुहरे विनिपातितस्य
लक्ष्मीनृसिंह मम देहि करावलम्बम् ॥ १५ ॥

Sri Shankaracharya has described the condition of our life thus: our wisdom has been lost due to anger, lust, etc. Just like robbers trying to commit a robbery by pushing the master of the house into a pit, our sense organs are pushing us into a pit of attachment towards mundane objects, robbing us of our wisdom and therefore bringing us to a horrid state of existence. Sri Shankara therefore pleads to Narasimha: “O Lord! Only you can save from this horrible condition & protect me.”

In this manner, Sri Shankara Bhagavatpaada has eulogized Lord Narasimha and became worthy of the Lord’s grace. He has urged us also to become deserving of the Lord’s grace. Therefore, Lord Lakshminarasimha is very highly worthy of worship by us. Just as He had annihilated Hiranyakashipu and other demons, only He is capable of vanquishing our inner foes like lust and anger. This is the reason He is addressed thus in the Narasimha-Shatakam: दुष्टसंहार नरसिंह दुरितदूर

The name ‘Dushtasamhaara’ refers to Him who vanquishes evil forces. This also refers to our inner enemies, being lust, anger, etc. So we have to pray to the Lord thus: “Please vanquish my inner foes and protect me. I am facing several problems due to them. I am unable to quell them myself. You alone are capable of helping me overcome them.” This is the reason behind addressing the Lord as Dushtasamhaara.

The Jagadguru stated that Dharmapuri acquires importance because it is sanctified by the divine presence of Lord Lakshminarasimha. The Jagadguru also mentioned that the sacred river Godavari with its pristine water flows in Dharmapuri

The Jagadguru also remembered His previous visits to Dharmapuri including the one in 1982 when He had accompanied His Guru, Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatirtha Mahaswamiji. The Jagadguru remarked that He had sought His Guru’s blessings to take a slight deviation to come to Dharmapuri to have a bath in the holy Godavari, and have Darshan of the Lord, and had then rejoined with His Guru in Jagatiala.

The Jagadguru added that He was visiting Dharmapuri again after his last visit in 1989. The Jagadguru also expressed anguish at the pollution occurring in the waters of the holy Godavari river, and prayed for its sustained purity.

The Jagadguru ended His Anugraha Bhashanam commending the devotion of the citizens of Dharmapuri and blessing everyone.


Anugraha Bhashanam at Dharmapuri



Visit to the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple

On 1st January 2013, the Jagadguru visited the famous temple of Sri Laksmi Narasimha Swamy at Dharmapuri, and had Darshan at the two shrines of Shanta Narasimha and Ugra Narasimha. The Jagadguru blessed the temple authorities and the devotees at the temple with a Anugraha Bhashanam.




Other Temple & Ashram Visits

The Jagadguru then had Darshan at the adjacent Ramalingeshwara Swamy Temple, and also at the shrines of Ganesha and Adi Shankara. Later, the Jagadguru graced the Ashrama of Sri Sacchidananda Saraswati Swamiji who performed Pada Puja to the Jagadguru. The Jagadguru then gave Darshan to the devotees and blessed them with Phala Mantrakshatra.